According to mental health charity Mind, 1 in 4 people in the UK experience a mental health problem every year. 5.9 in every 100 people suffer from generalised anxiety disorder, 3.3 in 100 suffer with depression, 4.4 in every 100 people with post traumatic stress disorder and 7.8 in 100 with mixed anxiety with depression. Many, many more mental health problems go unreported.
So if 25% of us are suffering, why aren’t we talking about it? That’s the question I wanted to ask in all in: the mind, a new group exhibition I curated which opens 10 August beneath the arches of Waterloo station at House of Vans.
all in: the mind connects creatives from the worlds of fashion, art and music. Artist Tim Noble, choreographer and director Holly Blakey, composer Mica Levi, filmmaker Akinola Davies, fashion designer A Sai Ta, artist Margot Bowman, musician Gaika, poet James Massiah, artists Joy Miessi, Celia Hempton, Diana Chire and Tom Mattison, set designer Gary Card, menswear designer Liam Hodges, photographer Campbell Addy and artists Joey Yu and Suzannah Pettigrew will be showing physical work in the form of paintings, films, sculptures and more, which I hope will prompt hundreds of IRL conversations during the ten days the exhibition will be on.
There will be a huge range of work on show from each of the 17 artists involved. Take A Sai Ta, who runs London label ASAI and is presenting (Takeaway), an installation of 150 T-shirts hanging from the floor to the ceiling. “Each T-shirt is ‘overlocked/shredded’, and tagged with an ASAI label with each letter of ‘MIND’ individuated to words that reflect one’s mental thoughts through one’s own process of individuation,” A Sai explains.
Artist Tim Noble has contributed a drawing in black ink titled Boy being sick on bird. “Things that emerge from the recesses of the mind are unpredictable, that makes it a fiercely fertile pool to draw from,” Tim says of the work. “My greatest learning curve has come from making mistakes, failure but ultimately the rewards lay in opening up new ways of thinking.”
Gary Card’s inky black sculpture explores mental health in an intensely physical way. “I wanted to create something that depicted the emotional strain a mental health sufferer may feel in a very literal sense,” Gary says. “The creature on the man’s back is choking him. I felt like a shackle around the neck could describe the choke hold mental health problems may have.”
Poet James Massiah has written a poem for all in: the mind titled Functioning, which, in his own words, “is about the use of drugs, both medical and recreational, as a means through which to function, in what may generally be perceived as, ‘normally’.”
In digital work I.C.U, artist Suzannah Pettigrew looks at MRI scans of her own brain taken after she suffered blackouts which were later found to be anxiety related. "The video work marks this time period and the beginning of self-reflection and therapy which started the process of re-shaping my thinking.”
On 17 August, artist Hannah Perry and Sienna Murdoch, founder of sad face.club – an online platform that live streams sad tweets – will also be joining Akinola Davies and Diana Chire for a panel discussion on 17 August asking how we can promote a wider understanding around mental health issues.
By collecting together voices from across the creative industry, I want to turn individual experiences into a collective narrative. Talking about mental health will continue to remain taboo unless we find ways to make those conversations happen.
All proceeds will go to Mind.
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